I first spotted Liah and the man she was with walking in the opposite direction to me but I didn’t immediately run after her because I am not keen on interrupting couples when it’s only one of them that I want to photograph. Nonetheless, after a bit I decided to ask her so I strode off after them. En route I had a chuckle to myself as they walked past a pub and 3 smokers stood outside turned and stared and then another two appeared from nowhere and stared after her as well … at least I’m assuming it was Liah that they were staring at ;). I’m sure she gets that all the time.
Another "thing" that happened en route though is that I decided that they were working – they stopped twice with the man pointing at the buildings around them. The second of these two occasions I walked past not wanting to impose but after a few more seconds deliberation I decided nothing ventured, nothing gained – they could only say "No, we’re busy". So I walked up – apologised to the man for intruding and asked Liah if I could take her photo – to my surprise the man took this opportunity to say "Not of me you won’t, I’m just going", said goodbye to Liah and left!!! Not quite what I had expected.
I explained about the project and Liah was more than happy to be involved. It turns out that Liah was about to go for a job interview and her other half was simply dropping her off as he knows the area and she doesn’t. A quick check with her about times as I didn’t want her to be rushing in as a result but we were fine so I hope that I proved a welcome distraction so she could forget the nerves for a few minutes at least.
Liah is from Manchester originally but has lived in Spain for the last 5 years but was involved in a very bad car crash last year and in her words, "Spain lost a friend" and she is now looking to come back to the UK to be with her partner who lives in Newcastle. When she was in Spain she lived in Benidorm and Cartagena and the second of those two rang a bell with me in a "I know that place" sort of way (as opposed to knowing of Benidorm) and it turns out that she used to live within 20 miles or so of my in-laws.
I should add that Liah has a very strong Manchester accent and there was a fair while that I was confused as I thought she had said that she was from Spain but she neither looked nor sounded Spanish – I caught up eventually though. I was also confused when she said that she had been a pole dancer for 32 years – not bad for a 24 year old. Did I mention that she used to be a pole dancer? Well she was, for 2 years and she loved it. Now you might understand why the smokers were falling out of the pub staring – Liah has very long legs!
I had more trouble with flash again – having asked Liah to move into the low sunshine I failed to notice that my shutter speed was too fast so I had several attempts before I got a properly exposed shot with the flash but ultimately I went with one of the natural light shots as the low sun had produced some catchlights anyway. I also took a couple of full length shots but the background was awful with all the traffic so I gave up on that and felt that I’d already taken enough shots.
Perhaps I should have made more of this opportunity – with Liah being an ex-performer and used to lots of attention maybe I should have persevered to get the full length portrait but I generally start to feel a bit uncomfortable myself once I’ve bungled things a bit too often.
So with that I wished her good luck with her interview and said goodbye.
Liah, thanks very much for getting involved with my project today – I hope the interview went well. If you get the job then I can highly recommend Tony & Frankie’s for a lunchtime sandwich and maybe I’ll see you in there to say "Hi" some day.
Please feel free to provide constructive critique on the technical aspects of this photograph.
This picture is #64 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page